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Girls Soccer: Red Wing leaning on youth, potential

What the Red Wing girls soccer team lacks in age, players make up for in experience.

Coming off a 1-13-2 campaign in 2013, Wingers head coach David Thurston, who takes over full time after being a co-head coach with Paul McNamee last fall, has seen a sharper team. Compared to last year, Thurston said this year’s squad is in mid-season form. That sharpness at practice helps for a Wingers team that brings back just two seniors in Izzy DiNatalie and Serena Scanlon

“There’s a lot of potential with this team. We’re young, but we’re experienced,” Thurston said. “If you look at the juniors, a lot of them have been playing at the high JV level or the varsity level since eighth grade. We have some good tenth-graders, too.”

Right away, the team’s hustle in the first two weeks has been the biggest difference from a year ago.

“Passing has been better, too,” Thurston said. “They’re taking more shots, but we still need to get a few more on frame. Overall, it’s just a much improved team from last year.”

And offense is where the Wingers need to make the biggest improvement. The team scored just eight goals last year – with four coming against Lake City – for an average of 0.5 goals a game while allowing 4.3 goals per contest.

“We’ll have Maddie Hardyman up there attacking, and Clara Grider, Caitie Turcotte and Cheyanne (Thurston) will be putting them in the midfield at times,” Coach Thurston said. “They have good shots and can hopefully get some balls up. We also have some good juniors like Carly Marty, Emme Goranson, Marisa Fitzsimmons and Ember Griebling.”

Thurston continued, “We have four different formations we’re going to run through depending on what team we’re playing and where we feel their strengths are and how we’re going to combat that, and then do adjustments during the game to try and expose the opportunities are there to score.”

In net, Red Wing plans to split time between Paige Harlow and Ember Griebling.

“Paige has been playing for four or five years at the club level and the high school here, and Ember started last year when we were short on keepers. She’s played at some camps and played some keeper over the summer,” Thurston said. “Right now I think we have a good one-two punch. They’re working with the keeper coach on the boys’ team.”

While the group tries to find the right lineup, Thurston is hoping Red Wing can be diverse in its lineups throughout the season.

“It’ll create some options and some stability,” Thurston said of his team’s versatility. “It provides a lot of depth and options. Most of them aren’t one-position players; they can play two or three positions, so that gives us some options. … We can adjust and say, ‘Go play this.’”

Joe Brown

Joe Brown is the sports editor for the Red Wing Republican Eagle. Previously, he worked at the Marshall Independent and the St. Cloud Times. For updates on local sports, follow Joe on Twitter at @RE_JBrown.

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